Amazon wants access to COVID-19 vaccinations for essential employees, and in return is willing to lend a hand with the nationwide rollout.
On the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer business, Dave Clark, sent a letter to the new president requesting that people working at fulfillment centers, AWS data centers, and Whole Foods Market stores receive the jab “at the earliest appropriate time.”
“As the nation’s second-largest employer, Amazon has over 800,000 employees in the United States, most of whom are essential workers who cannot work from home,” Clark explained. “We are proud of the role our employees have played to help customers stay safe and receive important products and services at home.”
And as a reward for that service, Amazon believes its personnel deserves a spot at the front of the vaccination line. The company already inked a deal with “a licensed third-party occupational health care provider” to administer on-site injections as soon as they’re available. Amazon is even prepared to assist in the effort, offering access to “operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise” to reinforce President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his administration. The White House did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.
“Since the beginning of this crisis, we have worked hard to keep our workers safe,” Clark wrote. “We are committed to assisting your administration’s vaccination efforts as we work together to protect our employees and continue to provide essential services during the pandemic.”
Amazon last spring announced a $4 billion plan to buy personal protective equipment, pay for cleaning company facilities, raise wages for workers, and fund an in-house COVID-19 testing process to screen employees for the virus. Still, as of mid-September, nearly 20,000 US Amazon frontline workers (those in company warehouses and Whole Foods shops) have caught the virus—representing 1.4 percent of the firm’s total 1.37 million employees. That prompted protests from Amazon workers who said the company failed to do enough to protect them from novel coronavirus.
Amazon in December promised more than $500 million in one-time “thank you” bonuses to workers most exposed to the pandemic. “We couldn’t be prouder of, or more thankful for, our teams around the world,” Clark’s predecessor Jeff Wilke wrote in a year-end blog post.